CORROSION OF CONFORMITY Bassist Discusses Concert Stabbing

June 24, 2005

CORROSION OF CONFORMITY bassist Mike Dean spoke to Raleigh's The News & Observer about the group's concert in Florida Thursday night (June 24) during which four people were stabbed, one fatally. It happened late Thursday night, about 45 minutes into the band's performance at the Masquerade nightclub in Tampa, Fla. "The surprising thing is that it was a very mellow crowd in terms of looking out and seeing the audience response," Dean said. "It was more a lot of grooving and heads nodding than a whirling mosh pit of musclebound dudes elbowing each other. It was fairly laid back."

The attack left one man dead, Thomas Laskas, 30, of Tampa. His wife, Wendy Laskas, also 30 and from Tampa, was stabbed and hospitalized in critical but stable condition. Two other Tampa men were treated and released — Nicholas Stegall, 21, and Dallas Ashe, 30.

Tampa police spokesman Joe Durkin said the incident began with an argument between two women that escalated into a large melee. A suspect used a pocketknife in the attack, then escaped by waving the knife at the crowd and fleeing. No arrests had been made by Friday afternoon. The suspect was described as approximately 30 years of age with a shaved head and reddish-brown goatee and mustache.

Dean said that the incident happened far enough away from the stage that he and his bandmates didn’t see what happened.

"We've heard conflicting things about what the dispute involved," Dean said. "We heard it was a domestic thing between a couple. We also heard it was two women who had a dispute that escalated into a boyfriend brandishing a large knife.

"At this point, it's all conjecture. I can only say that it came completely out of nowhere. It can happen anyplace where you have alcohol and a large number of people. There's only so much you can do to protect people from each other, and it only takes one wingnut to ruin your day or end your life."

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